MAPS/MIRAC Mar. 2024A Nights 5-6: Windy cloudy graupel

Night 5 started out with Manny and Dan cooking a delicious pancake/egg/sausage/bacon breakfast for the whole crew! Dan came up just to help Manny out, and a great time was had by all.

Post-breakfast, pre-sunset game of pool.

At sunset we were closed due to high winds, then the thick clouds rolled in. It looked like the wind was dropping, but actually the anemometer must have frozen because the winds were still very high in real life!

This picture is supposed to illustrate high winds and building-up clouds at sunset on Night 5. It’s hard to depict wind in a still jpeg though. But those pine tree branches were really blowing!

Around the halfway point of the night it started to graupel, and there were thunderstorms 30-50 miles away. So we never opened, and we put the telescope and instruments into lightning shutdown mode. The MAPS and MIRAC teams waited out the weather until around 3am when we and our TO agreed that the weather seemed to be behaving according to the forecast, and the forecast was calling for more snow and wind the next day and night. Therefore, towards the end of night 5 we decided to call off night 6, and the MAPS/MIRAC teams fled the summit and the snow for the balmy Tucson rain.

Some of us left around dawn, others slept a bit longer, but here was my dawn between Nights 5-6:

The song of the nights is the sound of wind-driven graupel striking the side of the metal dome.